Join a section or committee!

Even though I have spent virtually my entire legal career as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, I continue to be delightfully surprised to discover how busy the Association’s sections and committees are with their many initiatives of which I was unaware. Our 28 sections and 38 committees meet on a regular basis and work diligently to serve the members of the ISBA. Aside from the communities that these groups establish among attorneys and legal professionals with common practices or interests, they often go the extra mile to help our profession and the citizens of this great state. I know I don’t show my personal appreciation to these groups enough for their incredible work, so I’m going to highlight just a few of the extraordinary things they are doing. We always welcome new members to our sections and committees, so either join a section or call the ISBA offices to see if there is an available spot on a committee. I’m sure you’ll find great satisfaction in contributing to their fine work.

For instance, the Appellate Practice Section and the CLE, Improvements in the Judicial System and Women in the Law committees cosponsored the Jan. 15 “Demystifying the Judicial Selection Process” program, which welcomed more than 100 attendees. There is no doubt in my mind that this program encouraged attorneys to pursue careers in the judiciary. We have incredible judges in our state, but with our new specialized courts and retiring judges, we need new applicants all the time. The feedback on this program was fantastic!

The Young Lawyers Section continues to do spectacular work. They have already produced eight informational videos providing answers and advice for our members on various questions of interest. This is something that I have really wanted to do to provide more value to our members. Anyone interested in suggesting new videos or participating in them can email Carissa Long on the State Bar staff at These new videos will be featured on the ISBA website and our social media channels (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The Young Lawyers Section is also sponsoring Law Day events in May, matching attorneys with local schools to explain to Hoosier children the Miranda warning 50 years on. What a fantastic way to give back to the community.

The Family & Juvenile Law, Elder Law and Taxation sections are currently providing free section membership to young lawyers in their first few years of practice. And the Family Law Section is also planning on hosting monthly webinars for young lawyers on issues related to beginning a family law practice.

Finally, the American Citizenship Committee wants you to represent the ISBA at this year’s naturalization ceremonies conducted by Indiana’s U.S. district courts (in the Southern District, 35 ceremonies in Indianapolis, and in the Northern District, 29 ceremonies, which include six ceremonies in Fort Wayne, one in Lafayette, and 11 in both South Bend and Hammond). At each ceremony, an ISBA member makes brief congratulatory remarks and presents each candidate receiving citizenship with a personalized “Canons of American Citizenship” provided by the Association. To receive a list of available ceremony dates, please contact committee co-chairs Phil Ripani,, for the Southern District and Colin Reilly,, for the Northern District.

Your ISBA staff has recently added a Volunteer listing under the “For Members” tab of our website ( It describes opportunities for members to give back to their communities, including both short-term/one-time opportunities and longer-term commitments.

I could fill this entire publication with the wonderful things that our sections and committees are doing (and the many great opportunities available to you). It’s truly amazing the things we can accomplish together.

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